Turning Over a New Leaf
Turning over a new leaf usually means switching to something new or changing course. For some, the time for this fresh start naturally falls in the fall. We're done playing outdoors in the summer sun and find it's time to come indoors and see what needs doing. Kids are back in school, the chilly morning air feels energizing, and when we finally come inside, we see heaps and piles just begging for some of your time and attention.
Autumn is the season that really feels like the beginning of a new year to me. New Year's means resolutions and resolutions means looking for solutions to old problems. I recently read part of a book called, "Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard" by Chip and Dan Heath, two highly educated brothers who have thought long and hard about what is going on in our brains when we want change that we know is right but we can't quite get done. They look at the emotional and rational parts of our brain and analyze how they compete to get us to do what they want. I found it all quite fascinating. Filled with lots of compelling stories about changes, big and small that made real differences in the world, the book's point on looking for bright spots made a real impact on me. What they mean is look for what is working, those are the bright spots, and do more of that. Pretty simple, huh?
I see the path I want to be on but how do I get there? Where exactly do I really want to go? Sometimes it's hard to define the exact problem. Clarification comes from many different sources. I find clarity by talking with friends and writing. Sometimes you hit on a few sentences in a story or article that seems tailor made to describe your situation. Or you're at the gym, generating sweat and have a sudden epiphany about your current struggles.
This fall will bring us a major US election as well as new paintings and writings, new subjects to learn, new jobs to start, new people to meet. Where are your bright spots and how can you make more of them? What path has leaves on it that need turning over? I’ll leave you with this quote, “Solvitur ambulando, St. Jerome was fond of saying. To solve a problem, walk around. ~Gregory McNamee